The Jacksonville Jaguars will be meeting with former Jaguars and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin on Thursday to discuss the team's current head coaching vacancy. Since Coughlin is currently not employed, the Jaguars are free to interview him whenever they like, so they're getting a head start on the coaching search by getting it out of the way before the conclusion of the 2016 season.
While Thursday's meeting might be the "official" interview with Coughlin, it was interesting that Jaguars owner Shad Khan met with Coughlin on Wednesday evening while general manager David Caldwell was at practice, according to Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union.
An ESPN report Wednesday stating the Jaguars were interviewing Tom Coughlin for their head coaching vacancy was news to many within the organization.
"It was a surprise to all of us," a team source said.
There are a number of reasons why this meeting, without Caldwell, makes sense logically, though it's unlikely most of them are good for Caldwell's long term future. The meeting could be as simple as Khan wanting to get an honest opinion of the Jaguars current roster without Caldwell in the room, feeling that Coughlin would be more open without the general manager who constructed the roster sitting across from him.
From the outside looking in, even though that Khan indicated that Caldwell would be charged with leading the search for a new head coach, it appears like Khan is doing a lot of things that are cutting the legs out from under Caldwell. Khan charged Caldwell with leading the coaching search, but then employed the likes of Korn Ferry, a search firm, to "assist" with the coaching search. It should be noted that Korn Ferry not only has assisted teams in searching for coaches in the past, but with also helping teams structure their organizations in a manner that should lead to success.
One would also think that if the Jaguars are hiring a search firm, it's unlikely they'd end up hiring Coughlin as the head coach of the Jaguars, right? If you think Coughlin is your coach for the job, why waste time and money with a search firm to assist that? What is really needed for assistance there?
Now, this portion is solely my opinion on the matter and is in no way sourced or a report but; To me it feels like it's possible that Coughlin could be in consideration for an executive position with the team on the football side. That's how everything, in my personal opinion, appears to be lining up and why Caldwell may have not been present. First the general manager, who has had a big hand in 15-48, is charged with the coaching search and this is immediately given "help" in the form of Korn Ferry. Then, one of the team's coaching candidates who has also expressed interest in building and running a team, meets with the owner while the general manager is absent.
Again, pure speculation on my part, but I would not be surprised if the Jaguars ended up hiring Coughlin in a role we've written about in the past, as a vice president of football operations or something similar, and a different coach that Coughlin helps vet and approve ends up hired and at some point, Caldwell ends up without a job in the Jaguars organization since it appears he is not going to be getting an extension. If he were, it likely would have happened already. If this is the actual plan of the Jaguars, I think it would be a smart one but it is also a plan that would need to happen rapidly so the Jaguars aren't delayed next week in interviewing coaches who are employed by playoff teams. And by rapidly I mean by Monday, January 2nd.
Again, this is just speculation on my part and Coughlin could end up as the Jaguars head coach by Jan. 2nd with Caldwell also signing an extension, but it wouldn't be the first time I looked like an idiot.